Today I had a chance to look back at that shoulder-padded, fluorescent, big-haired era when a blog I love featured some 80's-inspired cakes. To see them (and you really should), please look at this.
It got me thinking about why I'm so nostalgic for that most embarrassing period in time, aside, I suppose, from the obvious. Everyone is nostalgic for their childhood. Still, it was a time like no other, so here are the highlights as I see them, but be warned. I'm barely going to scratch the surface:
Music: Let's be honest here, most of the time we were turning the knob on our flip-number clock radio trying to find anything worth listening to. The crap we had to wade through to get to the good stuff warranted a sturdy pair of boots. Luckily for us, those were available too. In green suede. And they were slouchy. But I digress. For every thoughtful, authentic Crowded House song, there was a synthesized, saxophone-riddled disaster by the likes of Paula Abdul. But even though Elvis Costello, The Smiths and The Police (among others) serve as a reminder that not all the music was terrifying, some of the cheesier stuff still stands the test of time for me as well. As I've mentioned before, I've been enjoying Sirius for a while now, and this allows me to give the music I never thought I'd want to hear again another listen. It turns out that when REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" or Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" starts playing, I am powerless to resist. I drop everything (including Rosemary's Baby) and start singing at the top of my lungs. Thank god my nearest neighbours are over a mile away.
Stickers: Puffy stickers. Scratch and sniff. Rainbows and ponies. Need I say more?!
TV: Does anyone remember that sitcom someone tried to make about a family who had come to life from a storybook to live in modern times? The dad, played by that handsome devil from Another World, was Prince Charming. I think it lasted one episode. Only in the 80's. Also only in the 80's could a show like ALF actually be considered a good idea. But there was Cosby and Family Ties, and all those excessive prime-time soaps. I still secretly dream of living at Southfork, dressing like Sue-Ellen and occasionally throwing a glass of scotch in someone's face.
Movies: I've noticed that when I want to make one of my friends laugh in the face of misery, referencing Return of the Jedi or Back to the Future is a big hit. I, of course, loved anything with a brat-packer in it. And remember Flashdance? How could a film that made teenage girls secretly dream of becoming strippers seem so right?!
Toys: I think Rainbow Brite should be the official mascot for the 1980's. All those insane colours working against each other should've sent us running for the toilet in a fit of vertigo-induced nausea. And yet we bought in. And how. Brother #1 carried a smurf everywhere he went until it started to get weird and he had to leave it at home. Go-Bots, My Little Pony, and the ultimate...Cabbage Patch Kids! My mother had to go to a toy store at 8AM on a Wednesday, line up and fight the crowds to get her hands on one. People stampeded stores all over North America for those ugly things! Truly, the 80's displayed us at our worst. I blame Reagan.
Fashion: Remember wearing three Swatch watches and an armload of jelly bracelets? My grade seven school photo shows me with a fluorescent pink sweatshirt, purple feather earrings and my hair pulled back in a plastic hair band. I remember wearing this with blue-and-white pinstripe capri pants and silver flats with no socks. Actually, this doesn't sound much different than what people are wearing right now. I guess everything old is new again. Except for the feather earrings. If there's any good in this world, those things will never come back.